Monday, December 12, 2011

What is Kwanzaa?


KWANZAA Basics


Last year A neighbor invited me to a Kwanzaa celebration.
Kwanzaa is practiced for 7 days and her party was on the 5th day. Day 5 is dedicated to Nia (meaning purpose). 
What a perfect day for me attend, as I’m feeling very purpose driven these days.
In case you don’t know the Kwanzaa basics
 here they are

Kwanzaa starts on December 26th and ends on Dec 31st

Kwanzaapronounced (kwahn-ZAH) meaning; First fruits in Swahili, is an African American social tradition, practiced by people of African decent to celebrate black identity and a reinforcement of community.

The tradition of Kwanzaa is relatively new and started after the Watts riots in 1966. Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Black Studies at Cal State Long Beach was the creator.  Kwanzaa is a combination of several different African harvest celebrations such as those of the Ashanti & the Zulu.

There are many ways to celebrate Kwanzaa but usually families gather together each evening and a child will light one of the 7 candles on the kinara (candleholder). The black center candle is lit on the first night and one of the seven principles is discussed. The principles are around values of the African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing the values in the African American community. Each night thereafter a candle is lit and the corresponding principal is discussed.

Seven Symbols of Kwanzaa

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